Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Great Text Debate

The Cowardly Lion says, "Texting is A-OK!"

I have gone around and around with a friend of the male-type persuasion about whether or not it is acceptable to text for a date. More specifically, the first date. In my apparently antiquated opinion, a call always trumps a text message in early dating situations. To me, a call indicates a higher level of respect than a flippant text. To him, I’m “weird” and “stuck in the ‘90s.” In his defense, I still struggle to swallow the concept of an e-book. I like my printed books dammit! They smell nice and look really pretty and pretentious on my oversized bookshelves.

Thanks to the blessed technology of the Internet (see Matt I don’t eschew every advancement), I found all sorts of goodness to back my stance. Unfortunately, so can he (he said both Vanity Fair and Esquire had pro-text articles…I couldn’t find them…In fact, I really couldn’t find much of anything…can anyone help him out?). In my personal, non-scientific and completely biased survey, all other friends insisted a first-date text was unacceptable. A similar survey conducted by Matt over state lines yielded very different results. I quipped that his sampling pool consisted of girls who weren’t exactly in relationships with the most respectful men per his own anecdotal evidence. But it did nothing to allay his “calling is for fuddy-duddies” stance.

Breaking up with someone via text is universally frowned upon and, to me, the big “it’s not you it’s me” is far more uncomfortable than the initial ask out. So why would it be acceptable to show less respect for someone you are trying to impress in the initial stages of dating bliss? I understand that, in these two situations, you have established a deeper relationship with the individual you are breaking up with and you should even go a step further and have the conversation face-to-face, but the respect issue still stands.

Not only is it more respectful, but a text seems down-right cowardly. The main reason a guy chooses to text rather than call is because he is afraid of rejection. If you call, you’re more likely to get a “yes” for an array of reasons. Not the least of which is women love a confident man. And a call shows confidence where a text shows I’m-too-scared-to-actually-speak-to-a-girl. So fake it if you have to, but call.

It also simplifies the planning process. It’s the difference between: “Hey you wanna go out Saturday night?” “Yeah I’d love too.” “Cool, I will meet you in the alley behind Loring Pasta Bar and we can share a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.” Versus: “Hey you wanna go out Saturday night?” Hours of silence. Wondering “Did she get the message?” “Why hasn’t she responded?” “She probably hates me.” “Psh I don’t need her.” Then by the time she responds you’ve convinced yourself she sucks and you didn’t want to go on the date anyway.

Matt’s concluding argument was actually fairly solid, “if you like a guy enough, it’s not going to matter if he texts or calls, you’re going to say yes.” I had to concede this point. I’ve caved before, in fact I did it with this guy (perhaps I should have heeded my own crotchety old stance on this one). But the reality of the matter is, even if she might say “yes” to a text, wouldn’t you rather hedge your bets and impress her with a nice, old-fashioned phone call? Maybe give it the old college try next time slugger, you might be happy with the results. 


  1. While I certainly don't agree with a text for a first-date set-up (being a) way older than y'all and b) married, my opinion most likely won't count anyway), I do have to admit if a "girl likes a guy" she will definitely take ANY advance, be it text, email or - GASP! - actual face-to-face conversational action.

    Which begs the question: since so many women out there are responding to first-date texts, is it changing the way guys these days are thinking it's okay to do business? If so, that makes me even MORE glad to be out of that scene, since I too am old-fashioned.

    One more opinion (again, I'm old and dragging around a ball and chain, so take whatever I say with the grain of proverbial salt). There's no good/easy way to break up with someone. Definitely more cowardly options (ahem, TEXTING) exist, but in that situation anything you do is most likely lose-lose.

  2. You inspired a response. In reality, texting versus calling has nothing to do with confidence or either being an act of cowardice.